Orioles place Urrutia on restricted list

Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have placed Henry Urrutia on the restricted list.

As the Baltimore Orioles begin a three game series against the Blue Jays in Toronto tonight, they will be without rookie slugger Henry Urrutia, as Urrutia has been placed on the restricted list due to legal complications, the club announced. To replace Urrutia, the team has promoted first baseman Dan Johnson.

The immediate reasons for Urrutia not being allowed to cross the Canadian border are not apparent, however, it is almost certainly due to some sort of immigration issue, since he defected from Cuba less than two years ago. Urrutia will spend at least the next three days at the Orioles' spring training complex in Sarasota, Florida. The Orioles have not ruled out the possibility of Urrutia sitting out the remainder of the season, with Buck Showalter stating that he "alerted [Urrutia] to the fact that it could go either way so he didn't take three changes of clothes down [to Sarasota]." If the Orioles were to end Urrutia's season early, it would be to prepare him for his upcoming stint in the Arizona Fall League next month.

Urrutia was originally signed by the Orioles last July, following the then 25 year old's defection from Cuba. Now 26, Urrutia was among the hottest bats in the upper minors this season, hitting .347/.406/.506 in 80 games for the Double-A Bowie Baysox and Triple-A Norfolk Tides. He made his big league debut for Baltimore on July 20th, playing in 21 games before being optioned back to Triple-A in mid-August. Urrutia made his return to the big leagues earlier this month as part of the Orioles' September roster expansion. Overall, Urrutia has hit just .276/.276/.310 in 58 major league plate appearances this season.

Urrutia's replacement, Dan Johnson, is perhaps most famous for his game-tying 9th inning home run against the New York Yankees on September 28th, 2011 that ultimately led to the Rays overtaking the Boston Red Sox to capture the AL's Wild Card Spot.

In 7 seasons split between the Athletics, Rays, White Sox, Yankees, and Orioles, Johnson has hit .237/.338/.412 with a 3.8 WAR. His best season came in 2005, his rookie year, when he had a 113 OPS+ with 15 home runs in 109 games for the A's. He last played in the majors in 2012, appearing in 14 games for the White Sox.

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